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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


them, they were administered and staffed by the clergy, and their
courses of study closely followed the established tradition. But
the very fact that the townspeople took a keen interest in them,
and in many cases came to acquire a share in the maintenance and
management of them, made a great difference in their spirit. In
spite of clerical control, they inevitably became more and more
secular in character. Towards the end of the Middle Ages some
of them even passed out of the hands of the Church and became
purely municipal institutions.

It is not the grammar schools or the humbler song schools,
however, but the new schools of higher learning, first called studia
generalia, and subsequently known as " universities," which show
the most remarkable effects of the development of the medieval
towns on education. It is impossible to assign an exact date to
the origin of the universities, for the simple reason that the first
of them grew into being over a considerable period of time. The
most that can be said is that sometime about the beginning of the
Twelfth Century students had begun to flock in considerable
numbers from different lands to certain towns which had acquired
a reputation for the instruction their schools gave in some particu-
lar subject like medicine, law or theology. Some of these towns,
more fortunate than the rest in the possession of great teachers,
or favoured by some peculiarity of geographical situation, suc-
ceeded in maintaining their attraction ; and their schools began
to organize themselves as permanent institutions with forms of
government that afforded security to masters and students, and
won definite recognition from the civil and ecclesiastical authori-
ties. Such, among others more obscure, were Bologna, Paris, and
Oxford, the great " mother " universities which served as models
for the universities which sprang up in every part of Europe in
the course of the next few centuries.

The intimate connection between the universities and the
growth of civic independence is shown by the fact that it was in
those parts of Southern' Europe where the municipalities were
freest and most vigorous that the university movement extended
with greatest rapidity. In Italy no fewer than nine universities
established themselves by spontaneous growth or by special
creation (in some cases only to last for a short time) in the first
half of the Thirteenth Century ; and as many more were instituted
in the next two centuries. In Spain, where also municipal life